What Happened to My CD Case? July 2023

My normal CD listening habits were disrupted this month, for two reasons.  (1) My car hood got totalled by a flying metal object.  Fortunately nobody was hurt, but my car was in the shop for almost a month.  (2) I visited my Mom in Northern Michigan.  So I spent over a month in rental cars with no CD player.   

But all turned out well.  I was looking for a college radio station on the left of the FM dial and instead stumbled upon WTMD (89.7), an Adult Album Alternative (AAA) format station in the Baltimore area that I had not been aware of before.  I grew up listening to AAA stations like WXRT in Chicago and WFNX in Boston.  When I moved to Maryland in 1996, WHFS was the closest substitute, but when they converted to Latin music in 2005 I stopped listening to the radio.  (Yes, DC-101 was still around, but every time I listened to them over the years it seems their playlist was the same as it was in 1996.) 

So it was a pleasure to find WTMD, which says that “TMD” stands for “Total Music Discovery".  They operate out of Towson, so I supsect that originally TMD stood for “Towson, Maryland”.  In any case, they are listener supported , no commercials, and play lots of new indie music including music by Baltimore area bands.   

Alas I have never found an AAA station in Northern Michigan.   In my many years of driving in the Traverse City area, I have found sports radio, NPR stations playing classical music, pop stations, country stations, and classic rock stations that play Kid Rock at least once an hour.   So this time, I paid the rental company extra for satellite radio, and discovered SiriusXMU (channel 35).  They play new and classic music by underground and indie artists, and their definition of “indie” includes both bands on small labels and unsigned artists that have nothing more than a good song on Bandcamp.   They have half-hour “studio concerts” (Alex G was featured the week I was listening).  

I'm not going to stop listening to CDs in my car--I still think that once you've found someone you like, it makes sense to listen to a lot of their music in a focused, intentional way.  But it was good to be reminded that it's good to take a radio break every now and then (assuming you have a good station to listen to).  It's a great way to be introduced to new bands (or new-to-me, anyway).  I will definitely check out more of Michigander, Yot Club and Beirut, for example…and on the other hand, I learned about some much-hyped new bands that probably aren't worth my time, which is also useful to know before I plunk down money for a CD.  

Leave a comment